“They’re Playing With Fire” is a sleazy mix of sexploitation and thriller that features slasher elements and Sybil Danning’s “sumptuous sacks” [that is literally on the back of the DVD].
THE PLOT: A busty, married teacher (Sybil Danning) seduces her student Jay (Eric Brown) into killing off her in-laws in order to gain an inheritance. But Jay chickens out, only for a ski masked killer to commit the murders anyway. Now the teacher, her husband, and Jay must find the identity of the killer before the madman claims them as his next victims…
I’ll be honest…the only reason to watch “They’re Playing With Fire” is for Sybil Danning. Hell, that’s the only reason why I own “The Howling II”. Sybil is hot as hell and has some pretty steamy sex scenes. Her acting is mesmerizing and the film livens up anytime she’s on screen.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film is a standard by the book thriller with slasher elements such a masked killer, a twist ending, and disposable teens. The legendary Dominick Brascia (the fat kid from Friday the 13th: A New Beginning) plays one of Jay’s comedic friends who loves to eat anchovies and mustard pizza and comments on how small is dick is while urinating. I couldn’t stand Eric Brown as Jay. There’s just something limp about him. He comes off as a little bitch, like when he decides to play a game of 20 questions with Sybil Danning as she mounts him…seriously? As your busty teacher mounts you, you’re gonna ask her questions like “Why me?” and “Have you ever done it with a student before?” Forget the Q&A, go to pound town!
There is some unintentional comedy and a few WTF moments. Like the scene where the killer randomly dresses up like Santa Claus and beats a girl to death with a baseball bat. And if you were a caretaker in the 80’s, you definitely got a bad rap. In the majority of horror films I’ve reviewed for this site I’ve realized the poor old caretaker gets blamed or suspected more than any other character in horror film history. We get a red herring caretaker and the twist at the end of the movie involves an evil brother.
“They’re Playing With Fire” is worth a viewing. It’s competently shot and edited by director Howard Avedis (Mortuary) and features some of Sybil’s best nudity. It’s a generic slasher that won’t surprise and impress you…but it may just entertain you. The DVD by Anchor Bay is tough to find.
“They’re Playing With Fire” features yacht tanning, a poodle hostage, shower scenes, death by rifle, dorm room shenanigans, and one of the most cheesiest theme songs I’ve ever heard. It’s catchy as hell too. I found myself singing it a week later at work.